Young People into 2012

SHEU : nationally-recognised, since 1977,
as the specialist provider of reliable local survey data for schools and colleges

TWENTY SIXTH YEAR OF DATA ABOUT YOUNG PEOPLE

YP into '12 Don't miss the FREE RESOURCES PAGE

Examples of press coverage:  

Teenagers worried over sleep levels

More than half of girls are unhappy with their figures despite being healthy or underweight

This report, Young People into 2012, is a unique contemporary archive of young people from the Schools Health Education Unit. There are over 100 health-related behaviour questions and answers from over 31,000 youngsters between the ages of 10 and 15. They tell us about what they do at home, at school, and with their friends. The data have been collected from primary and secondary schools across the United Kingdom. The report is the 26th in the series.

See an example page

Angela Balding, Survey Manager at the Schools Health Education Unit, says,
"An important aspect of the latest "Young People" report is to have indications of the behaviours of both primary and secondary school pupils. Some surveys have involved individual secondary schools at the same time as their feeder primary schools. The tables in 'Young People into 2012' show clearly the changes of behaviour as children move to secondary school and begin to mature. There are some interesting differences between the two age groups that appear in a very few years - like in the proportion of females who say they would like to lose weight and those pupils in Years 6 and 10 who say they have 'never tried' smoking. The report offers a valuable insight and should give heart to those working with young people - there is a lot of good news here."
 
Dr David Regis, Research Manager of the Schools Health Education Unit, says,
"Last year was our landmark 25th year, where we reflected on some of the long-term trends in our figures. This year puts a 26th spot on each of the charts, and confirms many of the changes we have noticed already. So, we have more teetotallers, fewer eating crisps on most days, and about the same level of concern about bullying."

"It's a mixed picture, which I think will not provide support for complacency nor for people who want to say we are going to hell in a handbasket. When I first started working in the Unit, we had a headline about our work, "Layabout lifestyle of the teenage tipplers", and we have 25 years of similar cuttings. The reality was and is more complicated than that, of course."

"For example, in a mixed class of 30 Year 6 pupils, made up of the same sorts of youngsters who comprised our sample, a teacher can expect to be looking at 8 pupils who had 5 portions of fruit and veg to eat yesterday but 2 who had none. Probably none will be current smokers, maybe one will have experimented with cigarettes. Three or four will be fairly sure that they know someone personally who uses drugs. 10 will have spent their own money on sweets or chocolate last week. 24 will at least sometimes play physically active games during breaktimes. All but four or five will have brushed their teeth at least twice yesterday."

"Meanwhile, up the road in a secondary school classroom, a colleague, teaching a mixed Year 10 group who also match our sample, can expect to be looking at 5 pupils who had 5 portions of fruit and veg to eat yesterday but four who had none; in the class will be 4 girls (out of 15) who had nothing to eat for breakfast that day. 5 of all 30 pupils will have had an alcoholic drink last week and 4 or 5 might be current smokers; 3 will have smoked cannabis at least once in their lives. 19 will be living with both parents; three will think there are no adults they can trust. Maybe 20 will have had 8 or more hours' sleep last night."

"In the same Year 10 class, there's about an even chance that one will have very low self-esteem while the self-esteem of 12 will be buoyant; two will usually feel very uneasy meeting people their own age for the first time while more than 2/3 of the class will be quite sanguine about it. One will feel not at all happy with their life. 21 will enjoy sport and physical activities at least 'quite a lot', but one or two will enjoy them 'not at all'. Four or five will have a current paid term-time job. Only a third of them will understand what Chlamydia is and whether or not it can be cured, while 18 will know of a local young people's sexual health service. 6 will have been bullied at school in the last year."

"Talking to teachers and other professionals concerned with young people's wellbeing, we have heard a lot of concern about the Internet, whether it be cyberbullying or Internet porn. Our clients all seem to want to know slightly different things about the young people in their area, so we don't have good overall figures for many questions. We do know that about 80% of all pupils aged 10-15 can recall having been told how to stay safe when chatting online. 7% of males and twice as many females have received an chat message that scared or upset them. "

"We have a couple of headlines from local surveys:
34% of pupils in one authority have looked online for pornographic or violent images, films or games.

5% of pupils in the same authority have ever had images sent of themselves that they have been embarrassed by or upset about sent.

10% of pupils in another authority have been bullied over the Internet; this is in keeping with figures in some other studies."
 

Young People into 2012 ISBN 9781-902445-45-8 148pp

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SUMMARY

CHAPTER 1 - Food choices & weight control
  • In the sample 58% of 14-15 year old females, 51% of 12-13 year old females and 34% of 10-11 year old females 'would like to lose weight'. This compares with 28% of 14-15 year old males, 34% of 12-13 year old males and 25% of 10-11 year old males who 'would like to lose weight'
  • 26% of Year 10 females have 'nothing at all to eat for breakfast this morning' and 20% had nothing for lunch on the previous day
  • Less fresh fruit and vegetables are eaten as pupils get older and up to 24% report eating 3 portions of fruit and vegetables. 16% of 14-15 yr. olds and 26% of 10-11 yr. olds report eating 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables 'yesterday'
  • Up to 77% drank less than 1 litre of water 'yesterday'

CHAPTER 2 - Doctor & Dentist

  • Up to 22% of the 12-15 year old females, reported feeling 'quite uneasy' or 'very uneasy' on their last visit to the doctor

CHAPTER 3 - Health & Safety

  • 49% of 14-15 year old females report taking painkillers on at least one day during the previous week. There was a positive correlation between worrying about 3 or more topics and taking painkillers
  • Bullying - 36% of 10-11 yr. old females feel afraid (at least 'sometimes') of going to school because of bullying. As pupils get older, fewer say their school takes bullying seriously.
  • Up to 27% of young people say that safety after dark is 'poor' or 'very poor'
  • 18% of 14-15 yr. old females report ever being upset or scared by chat messages online
  • Up to 28% never try to avoid sunburn

CHAPTER 4 - Family & Home

  • Up to 65% of 12-15 year olds live with both parents
  • Up to 42% of the sample walk, at least some of the way, to school
  • More females than males did homework on the evening before the survey, and they tended to spend longer at it. Around 40% of the 12-15 year old males did no homework at all 'yesterday'
  • Up to 80% of males played computer games after school 'yesterday'

CHAPTER 5 - Legal & Illegal Drugs

  • Since the mid-1990s there has been a general decline in the percentage of 14-15 year olds who smoke regularly. Around 96% of 10-11 year olds say they have never smoked. This figure drops to 67% (males) and 61% (females) by the time they are 14-15 years old. Around 36% of 12-15 year olds live in a 'smoky' home.
  • Around 44% of the 14-15 year olds are 'fairly sure' or 'certain' that they know a drug user. 11% of 14-15 year olds have mixed drugs and alcohol 'on the same occasion'
  • A declining trend report taking cannabis (up to 11% of 14-15 year olds in 2011)
  • Up to 18% of 14-15 year olds reported drinking in the 'last seven days'

CHAPTER 6 - Money

  • Around 36% of pupils save money and there is a slightly declining trend from around 2005

CHAPTER 7 - Exercise & Sport

  • Over 90% of the sample of 10-15 year olds report exercising at least on one day 'last week'. Around 70% of all males and 64% of 10-11 year old females report exercising vigorously on 3 or more days
  • 61% of 10-11 year old females think they are 'fit' or 'very fit'. This falls to 26% by the time they reach 14-15 years of age
  • From 1991 there is an upward trend (10%-25%) of 14-15 year old females that report being 'unfit'

CHAPTER 8 - Social & Personal

  • School exams and tests are a worry for 57% of 14-15 year old females
  • Up to 35% of older pupils report enjoying 'most' school lessons
  • 69% of 14-15 year old females, compared with 55% of 14-15 year old males, want to continue with full-time education after Year 11
  • Statements from the 'Every Child Matters' CHAPTER show a marked difference between the positive responses from primary and secondary pupils e.g. responses to, 'My work is marked so I can see how to improve it' drop from around 90% (10-11 yr.olds) to around 46% (14-15 yr.olds)
  • 'Friends' remain an important resource when help is needed with issues about: 'The way you look', 'Problems at home', and ' Relationships with boy/girlfiends'
CHAPTER 9 - Responses from primary-age children that are not contained in Chapters 1-8
  • Up to 20% of 10-11 year olds report being picked on for 'the way you look'
  • Around 26% report being approached by and adult who scared them or made them upset

Notes

1.SHEU is an independent research, survey and publishing company and the 'Young People into 2012' report is the 26th in the series and based on the work of one of its divisions - The Schools Health Education Unit. The Unit provides reliable baseline data for local needs assessment to inform plans in health, education and care.

2.The accumulated data from the hundreds of school surveys we support each year, involving tens of thousands of young people, is a valuable resource of information and provides many opportunities for research. We caution against simple reporting and interpretation of our databanks as being from 'a national survey'.

 
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Comments about SHEU

"We are planning next year's programmes around this information." Health Education Adviser

Health Education Adviser

"Over the last twenty years you have achieved much. The surveys and subsequent reports have painted the clearest picture we have of what young people are doing and what they think." OFSTED 1998

OFSTED

"The (named) Children and Young People's Partnership has benefitted from the results of the SHEU survey locally for many years now, and we should like to continue to do so in future."

Consultant in Public Health Medicine

"The service you provide is of national significance." Health Development Agency

Health Development Agency

"The data for (us) are very useful ... This is especially important when evaluating the impact of interventions regarding alcohol or other areas, as the survey data are likely to provide an earlier indication than routine data sources."

Specialist Registrar in Public Health

"I really appreciate the professional service which SHEU offers.  We have had a great experience working with Angela on the school surveys." 

Health Improvement Specialist

"We never make a move without looking at these excellent reports." Public Health Consultant

Public Health Consultant

"Over the last twenty years you have achieved much. The surveys and subsequent reports have painted the clearest picture we have of what young people are doing and what they think." Tribute from OFSTED to John Balding, presented at his retirement lunch, May 2005

OFSTED

Any comments on specific survey questions that may have caused difficulty?
Pupils at our primary school found the questionnaire very easy to understand and most of them completed the questions in less than 45min.

Teacher

"This week I have been working on a major strategy for service design -- it is easy to get solely focussed on hospitals, performance targets, and work force planning -- all very important; but at the same the needs of young people and how we need to work across agencies to address the health needs of today and tomorrow must be recognised. SHEU is founded to do just this."

PCT Performance Manager

"We would like to take part in the next ECM survey. We have found the data produced invaluable for supporting evidence in our SEF etc."

School Vice Principal

"As a Deputy Head in a large secondary school I was involved in taking part in a city wide health and wellbeing survey over a period of six years. Completing the survey every two years grew in importance year on year, with the final cycle having a major impact on our SDP, PHSE curriculum, Ofsted outcomes and governor understanding.
Over the six year period we moved from a small sample in two tutor groups filling in a paper survey to two year groups completing an online survey. The reports produced give graphical analysis of a wide range of issues. As a result of the survey we increased the number of PSHE workshop days for students to address issues such as smoking, drug and alcohol awareness, anti-bullying workshops. The surveys helped Governors make a positive informed decision to allow Brook Advisory Clinic nurses on site to support students.
As a result of taking part and using the evidence provided we were able to offer more support for students which had a direct impact on improved attendance and outcomes."

Deputy Head Secondary School

"You and the team have the evidence to show how young people's behaviour has or hasn't changed over time." 
Tribute from a Health Education Co-ordinator to John Balding, presented at his retirement lunch, May 2005

Health Education Co-ordinator

"We're very happy to commission another survey from you. Our colleagues in School Improvement are dead keen to work with us on this. During our last LA Inspection, we were flagged from our Tellus data as having a bullying problem. We could demonstrate with our SHEU data - which had a much better sample size and coverage of the authority - that we did not have the problem they suggested. The Inspectors went away happy and we are definitely surveying again with SHEU."

Local Authority Senior Adviser

"Within the curriculum, we are part of the Healthy Schools programme - and the local, Director of Public Health Award. We cover many facets of health from emotional intelligence to safety education and our very strong, Anti-Bullying and Child Protection programmes. You can imagine our delight when the Local Authority and our school nurse made the following comments after we took part in the regional Schools Health Education Unit Survey: " Head Teacher.
“This was an amazing set of outcomes and really good evidence that (your school) is doing a wonderful job in prioritizing the health and well-being of its pupils … Well done to staff, governors and parents for all your work on this through the Director of Public Health award and other strategies. It is very clear that pupils feel happy, safe and involved at the school and your caring ethos shines through this data.”
Healthy Schools Coorduinator.

 

Headteacher & Healthy Schools Coordinator

"We were talking about (the SHEU survey) data at our recent NSCoPSE Conference, for PSHE advisers and consultants. It would be really helpful if some of this powerful data and the trends could be shared in the consultation around the PSHE Review. Colleagues shared their very positive experiences of (the SHEU survey). It provides excellent evidence of behaviour change for children and young people and of the impact of PSHE and wider interventions."

Personal and Social Development Consultant

"The Schools Health Education Unit has been a unique inspiration to all of us. For me, as I have worked in the many different areas of the NHS, the SHEU, its principles and your determination have always been a cornerstone in what a health promoting service should be about."
PCT Performance Manager paying tribute to John Balding, presented at his retirement lunch, May 2005

PCT Performance Manager

"You have made a truly significant contribution to health education and health promotion of young people in, not only England, but all over the United Kingdom and beyond." Colleague from NHS Scotland paying tribute to John Balding, presented at his retirement lunch, May 2005

NHS Scotland

"I really think that the HRBQ is a wonderful piece of work in terms of getting useful information for so many different organisations in one go." Healthy Children's Research and Statistics Officer

Research and Statistics Officer

“(The SHEU survey) was very, very useful. It gave us reassurance we weren’t missing a trick. For example not many pupils in the sample year groups were taking illegal drugs, which re-enforced our opinions. But the survey also raised issues and flagged some things up. We discovered that some of our girls weren’t eating enough – the percentage of girls in our school not eating lunch the day before the survey was higher than the county average. There were other concerns too, specifically around cigarettes, alcohol and attendance.
The school used this data and took a number of actions to address it. More female peer mentors were put in place and the school asked NEXUS (the Extended Schools service) for help, so they developed a programme for girls which addressed their eating patterns, healthy eating, sex education and self-esteem issues.
We ran an anti-bullying group for Year 9 as a preventative measure, based upon data provided by our current Year 10 students.
The travel data revealed that a high number of pupils took the car to school so we involved the BIKE-IT scheme who ran assemblies, brought in their bikes (including one with a pedal-powered smoothie maker!), and raised awareness of health and green issues.
The information about how happy the students were with their lives raised some concerns as far fewer girls were as happy as the boys, so work was done around developing aspirations, role-models and self-esteem."        
 

Deputy Head, Secondary School

We were all very impressed with the spreadsheet and can see that an incredible amount of work has gone into creating this!

Health Improvement Specialist

"It's good to talk with you again - we used so much of those data and did so much with it in schools - we really got the place buzzing!"

Consultant in Public Health

"The system works and I find quite a lot of it useful in my work. I've also recommended it to others."

Teenage Pregnancy Manager

"I have never looked at myself in this way before." Pupil

Pupil

"The survey reports have been used to inform commissioning at specific commissioning groups. They are also being used within our Extended Schools Clusters and to inform The Annual Public Health and the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment." Programme Manager - Young People

"The Schools Health Education Unit has gained a reputation as one of the most reliable sources of information about young people's health." BBC

BBC

"Please send an additional copy of our report - it is the most requested and borrowed item in the whole library." Health Promotion Unit

Health Promotion Unit

"Many thanks to SHEU for your excellent professional support over the years."

PSHE teacher

"On behalf of all the health promoters in Scotland I would like to say a big thank to you and your colleagues for your excellent work over the years. This includes not only your survey work but your role as a visiting examiner in Scotland and adviser on course development."
Tribute from a Health Commissioner to John Balding, presented at his retirement lunch, May 2005

Health Commissioner

"Many thanks for a major contribution to the health of children in the UK and elsewhere over many years and putting in place the continuation of the Unit." Tribute from a Director of Public Health to John Balding, presented at his retirement lunch, May 2005

Director of Public Health

"...the only question to cause a problem was 'has everyone got a pen?" Supervisor's notes following a school survey

Supervisor's Notes

"This is an excellent way of keeping up to date belt and braces style."

School Drugs Advisor

"You have made a fantastic contribution to children’s health education and promotion. I am personally grateful to you for helping to kickstart my research career." Prof. Neil Armstrong tribute to John Balding, presented at his retirement lunch, May 2005

Prof Neil Armstrong

"We have never consulted our young people like this before. The survey makes a great contribution to our 'best value' planning." Sports Development Officer

Sports Development Officer

"The Schools Health Education Unit is the jewel in the crown of the Health Education Authority." Major General Sir John Acland 1928 - 2006

Major General Sir John Acland

"I very much value the contribution the Health Related Behaviour Survey has made to the public health agenda and feel confident it will continue to do so." Tribute from a Director of Public Health to John Balding, presented at his retirement lunch, May 2005

Director of Public Health

 “The (SHEU survey) helped us to prioritise where we needed to be in terms of PSHE education. We delivered assemblies based on the evidence as well as curriculum development, and dealt with whole school issues – particularly in regard to pastoral care. The answers received to the question on the survey “Who are you most likely to approach if you needed help” worried staff as “teacher” was not a popular answer. Subsequently the staff asked themselves why this had happened and what needed to be done to address the issue. There was more emphasis on wider aspects of PSHE education delivery, which needed more attention.

To summarise, the (SHEU survey) allows the PSHE department to assess the impact of teaching and learning and modify future lessons accordingly. It allows our school to look at whole school issues such as the extent to which the pastoral care system is meeting the needs of our pupils. It helps us to do need analysis of our pupils. It helps to provide important evidence for SEF / the extent to which we are meeting wellbeing indicators / National Healthy School standards.”  

Secondary School Head

"Thank you very much, David, for another excellent survey.  We look forward to receiving our reports."

Healthy Schools Co-ordinator

"I would like to say how much we appreciated the work you and your team have put in to this project, a big thank you for the excellent reports that you have completed on our behalf." Assistant Director of Public Health

Assistant Director of Public Health

"...the most comprehensive health education survey."

Daily Telegraph

"I have valued greatly the work I have done with the team in Exeter, it has been a highlight of my years here." Health Promotion Specialist

Health Promotion Specialist

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your work regarding writing and compiling the sex education survey. The survey was well executed and the schools have found their individual reports very helpful. The results of the survey have enabled the Local Campaign Group to justify the need for young men's campaigns and given us invaluable insight as to the thoughts and experiences of this target group."

Teenage Pregnancy Strategy Manager

"Our use of the Health-Related Behaviour Questionnaire was commended as part of our accreditation for the National Healthy Schools Scheme." Headteacher

"One year (following the SHEU survey) responses from our Year 4 cohort caused us concern, so we put in place a number of team building, motivational projects. We then assessed their effectiveness by requesting the SHEU questionnaires for these pupils as Year 5's."

Learning Mentor

"Brilliant - thank you Angela. As always you and your team are so proficient at getting our requests dealt with so promptly - it is a real pleasure to work with such a great organisation."

Health Improvement Adviser

"Thank you from my staff to you and all your staff. The speed of 'turn-around' of the questionnaires is outstanding in anyone's terms." Headteacher

Headteacher

"Just to say a huge thank you for all your efforts in helping us with the Health survey amongst pupils. It has provided us with significant data which will be used across the school to help us improve. It helped us to obtain a healthy schools standard as well. I hope we can make this an annual feature as we can track the changing health of our pupils." Headteacher

Headteacher

"SHEU data proved the best source of the kind of information we were looking for (...) to provide research support to the National Healthy Schools Programme." 

Department of Health

I would be extremely interested to see the results as I know how useful this information has been to the other schools in the
borough

Headteacher

"Every school involved in the National Healthy School programme should start with an HRBQ survey." Health Education Co-ordinator

Health Education Co-ordinator

"Your work in developing the Health Related Behaviour Survey was ground breaking and has continued to evolve." Tribute from a Director of Public Health to John Balding, presented at his retirement lunch, May 2005

"The data from last time were spot-on and we have done lots of work with it. We are very keen to repeat the survey." Headteacher

Headteacher

"You have often stood alone against the media who were often looking for the sensational headline. I have noticed an important change: the media now look out for and report very fairly and fully on the reports from the team." 
Tributes from a Health Education Advisor to John Balding, presented at his retirement lunch, May 2005

Health Education Advisor

"Many thanks for all of the fantastic information that you have sent to me over the years, it has really helped me to plan relevant courses for my students to follow and to help me to focus on the needs of the students I teach."

PSHE teacher

"We use the data to inform whole school practice: Pastoral programmes for target groups of pupils; Items for discussion with School Council; Information to help us achieve the Healthy School gold standard; To develop and dicuss with pupils our Anti-Bullying Policy; Targeted whole class sessions with the Police Community Support Officers; To share pupil perceptions of all aspects of their school life with parents, staff and governers." 

Learning Mentor

"The Unit has a unique historical and contemporary archive of young people." Prof. Ted Wragg 1938-2005

Prof Ted Wragg, 1938-2005

"I would like to say that this survey was very useful and made me realise things about PE and health that I had never realised before......Food at school is groovy, especially if your school does Jamie Olivers School Dinners. Viva apples and thanks for the survey." Female pupil, 13 yrs old

Female pupil, 13yrs

"Thanks for presenting the survey to local schools this morning, I just wanted to thank you for such interesting and thought-provoking information.  
I’m really glad we were able to take part - the information (particularly headline data and differences) will support us to have some really interesting questions with the Year group as a whole about the sense they’re making of this; what they think it might mean in terms of changes they might make, and what they need to support them in this."

Deputy Headteacher

"The Unit is to be congratulated in preparing ... material of the highest standard and worthy of wide dissemination." National Association for Environmental Education

National Association for Environmental Education

"The children found the survey very interesting and enjoyed doing it." Class Teacher

Class teacher

(Our) Senior team were very enthused with the rich source of data provided within the reports (and thought that the analyses including within the appendices section of the main reports were really interesting).

Health Improvement Specialist (Children, Schools and Families)

"As a result of the survey we reviewed and amended PSHE schemes of work, we are currently working on a "Green Travel Plan", a morning breakfast club was established and we further developed 6th Form mentoring."

Health Education Coordinator

"The Unit produces an invaluable body of knowledge... providing exceptional information across time and throughout the country." Kelloggs

Kelloggs

"The Health Related Behaviour Survey is an incredibly useful resource for (us) as it provides schools, with invaluable data which can inform curriculum content, methods of lesson delivery and empower schools to better meet the needs of their pupils."

Health Education Advisor